Elizabeth A. Zimmerman is an emergency manager with over 30 years of experience. A nationally recognized leader in emergency management, Zimmerman has a passion to assist disaster survivors in times of crisis. Zimmerman received a Presidential appointment in 2009 to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Zimmerman administered all aspects of the agency’s response and recovery efforts and served as the highest-ranking woman at the agency. During her tenure, she oversaw more than 930 disasters, emergencies and fire declarations, delivering over $6.5 billion to 1.7 million individuals and families and more than $27 billion in federal disaster assistance to state, local, ribal and non-profit groups. Zimmerman was also appointed as the Department of Homeland Security’s representative to the American Red Cross Cabinet Council.
During her tenure at FEMA’s Office of Response and Recovery (ORR), Zimmerman held the dual titles of Associate Administrator and Director of Disaster Operations. Prior to that, she served as the Deputy Associate Administrator. A hallmark of Zimmerman’s work at FEMA was her effort to support employees, particularly in encouraging and mentoring women in the field of emergency management. In early 2013, she designed and established FEMA’s quarterly Women’s Forum, helping employees learn more about distinguished women leaders from the public and private sectors. In 2014, she was inducted into the International Women in Homeland Security and Emergency Management Hall of Fame.
Prior to her work at FEMA, Zimmerman held positions as the Assistant Director of Recovery and as the Disaster Recovery Manager at the State of Arizona’s Division of Emergency Management. While there, she directed and coordinated recovery operations as the Governor’s Authorized Representative (GAR) in nine major disaster declarations and 51 state disaster declarations. She began her emergency management career with the State of Utah’s Division of Emergency Management. Positions held include Administration and Recovery Section Chief, Chemical Stockpile Emergency Preparedness Program (CSEPP) Section Chief, Liaison Coordination Section Manager, Emergency Preparedness Planner, and Public Assistance Officer. She began her emergency management career as a Public Assistance Officer and that has been her passion ever since.